22nd March 2011
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran recently interviewed Mahmoud Taravatrouy, lawyer for Mohammad Saber Abbasian, a prisoner of conscience and student activist, who said that Abbasian’s case is one of the most critical cases of a student in the past two years. “He has remained in ‘temporary detention’ since 26 February 2010, which is more than a year, and so far there have been about 10 court sessions at Branch 2 of Shiraz’s Revolutionary Court to review his charges. He has a thick case file which is comprised of several volumes and about 1,050 pages. The eleventh session of his trial court has been postponed until 4 April. Unfortunately, about a week ago, his ‘temporary detention’ orders were extended,” Taravatrouy told the Campaign.
Abbasian’s temporary detention was extended after a year of imprisonment, even though his family and lawyer have repeatedly asked the judge to issue a bail order for him. The Revolutionary Court has declined every time.
Abbasian was a graduate student of political science at Sheikh Mofid University in Qom and a political activist. He was in charge of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s 2009 presidential campaign in the province of Fars. Abbasian was also a member of the Islamic Participation Front Party in Fars. He has been charged with “propagating against the regime,” “acting against national security,” “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “insulting regime authorities such as the president and the Guardian Council,” “insulting sanctities,” and “propagating falsehoods.”
“Our biggest objection to this case’s legality is the extended ‘temporary detention” of Abbasian. A ‘temporary detention’ is an exceptional criminal ruling and when the ‘temporary detention’ is extended this long, in fact it is considered pre-trial punishment. It is possible that he would be exonerated from all the impending charges against him. In that case, who would be accountable for this long ‘temporary detention?’ We do not know,” said Taravatrouy, objecting to the latest extension of his client’s temporary detention orders.
“Abbasian does not accept any of the charges leveled against him. Appointing so many criminal actions to individuals, especially when the charges are so heavy, is like walking on a razor’s edge. We cannot accuse him solely on the basis of his writing in personal blogs and to regard his actions as criminal. I did not see anything against Abbasian in his case file. I hope that the Judiciary would show good faith in this case and to release him. The extension of his temporary detention, unfortunately, would keep him in jail and away from his family for the second Nowruz in a row,” said Mahmoud Taravatrouy.